Alas My Mouse – A Multi-linear narrative path

30 01 2012

One of my projects during my masters was the creation of an interactive narrative based on a fairy tale. The fairy tale was chosen at random from a book collecting a number of translated Spanish Fairy tales and is called ‘The Mouse with the Long Tail’. You can see that original story in the images below:

 

From this story I began to pick out the key plot points which could be used as nodes for my interactive story graph. Nodes are different sections of story that are all linked together. In this case each node ends with a choice for the reader/user which progresses the story along a path specific to that choice. In some stories the nodes and their paths may branch of any number of different times. In some cases this may just be one choice or variation that results in the story ending in a different way. Others (like the story I created) may branch of again and again and again to form what is known as a narrative tree. The original story (above) is a linear story meaning that it has one path through it; this path became the first path in my multi-linear narrative (a multi-linear narrative being a story with several linear paths) and from each node in the story I gave the reader the option to move the story in an alternate direction. Doing this created the narrative tree you can see below. As you can see, I created the tree using post-it notes to represent the nodes of the story and masking tape arrows to show the connections and the direction of the story. The yellow nodes represent the path of the original story whilst the blue and pink nodes represent story elements which I created as alternates springing off of the original path.



Having completed the story graph I then set about creating the story as an interactive piece; this first meant typing up each node and it’s relation to the other nodes in a way that could be understood and put into Flash. I did this with a sort of numbering/lettering system which allowed me to create a kind of transcript of all the story options and paths. This was then translated into the final interactive piece which, whilst not visually evocative, demonstrates the reader experience produced by a story graph of this type. You can view the interactive piece (Which I re-named the story “Alas My Mouse”) by following the link below.

Alas My Mouse – By Jayms C Nichols

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